Spun and Spent

 

How quickly our days are spun and spent

like the string of a kite

caught on an updraft,

the spool held in loose hands,

spinning fast and faster.

 

To slow the spinning

is to stop the climb–exultant, liberating.

To wind the string back onto the spool

is to move backward, to sink, to stunt.

How should I live these unraveled days?

How can I rise and yet

come back down?

The spool, its frenzied turning,

burning my hands.

 

I am afraid.

 

The days spin on, uncounted, uncontrolled,

but soon, before I know,

the string will catch,

the spool will slow.

 

Oh help me live these kite-string days!

Truly live them, spinning and wild,

and I, a breathless child

with burning palms and

racing heart,

will hold on lightly, lightly.

 

I will trust the wind that carries me

to the place where earth and heaven overlap;

knowing the string, however long, is short,

and, once spent, will surely snap.

 

The Fight In Me

 

The days stretch on–

a blurred line,

a slow succession

leading into mist

which never parts.

Is everyone’s future

so unfathomable?

Or do some see it

stretch before them

like a bright river,

carrying them, all anticipation,

swiftly onward

to their destination?

These days and days and days

take out all

the fight in me.

I shouldn’t be so tired.

But where there was fire,

there are now only embers

smoldering, cooling, waiting

for some sweet breath

of wind to blow

and coax

them to a warmer glow.

I dare not hope for a blaze.

And yet, in this haze,

this march of days,

I find a quiet, bending strength.

And maybe the fight in me

hasn’t died; it has learned

a steady stance.

Perhaps the fight

isn’t always flame and spark.

Perhaps it’s standing, enduring,

even through the dark.

Even now I find

that day after day,

the fight isn’t a battle.

It’s the will to stay.

A Child No More

I’ve always wanted to be brave

To face my demons unafraid

And yet I’ve always waited on

Someone, something, far beyond

But there are wolves outside my door

And I’m a child no more

 

Throw open wide this shuttered heart

Let in the light till shadows part

Gaze straight into the the truth of me

Embrace the facts unflinchingly

Unlock the gate, unbar the door

For I’m a child no more

 

I swell beyond these strict confines

Overflow my precious lines

Past the margins, I am free

Expand to the periphery

Plummet down or rise to soar

Either way, a child no more

As the Summer Dies

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Life starts anew as the summer dies,

And the moon hangs full over ripened fields.

Rain-damp leaves carpet the ground;

the air is heavy with their passing.

 

You and I walk this far-flung road,

And truths fall from us like leaves.

We tell our secrets before we realize what we’ve said,

And suddenly we stand in the blazing light of honesty.

 

If I could bend my words, pound them flat and solid,

burnish them until they shone mirror-bright,

You could gaze into them and see yourself as I see you:

Stronger than you think,

Wiser than you believe,

Lovelier than you hope.

You yourself are mirror-bright.

 

But like the first leaf falling–

summer’s small death–

I feel the sudden shift of atmosphere,

uncomfortably self-aware in the light of our candor.

Our easy, flowing honesty hitches.

I’ve already said too much.

 

So my words lose their glow,

grow dull and flat and safe,

restrained by the fear of looking foolish,

and you see yourself with your own eyes,

Not mine.

I catch my breath, hold my tongue,

and we walk into the autumn night.

Vulnerability

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In the desire to be strong,

it is easy to become hard,

and vulnerability

often feels like frailty.

How humiliating it can be

to admit that we need–

That we aren’t able to keep going

alone–

That we are desperate to know

and be known.

Even now I hide behind this word:

“We”

when, if I’m being honest,

I mean “me.”

Stay

If the sun goes dark tomorrow

as it rises in the east

and we plummet into shadow–

Should the earth’s revolving cease–

If the oceans break their borders

and submerge the mountaintops–

If the ground gives way beneath us–

If the timeline simply stops–

In the darkness and confusion

In the chaos and the flame

Let me feel your hand in mine

Let me hear you speak my name

And that will be enough

to help me bravely face the end

We’ll get through the unbearable

Just stay with me, my friend